Saturday, August 8, 2009
One Year On
All those years of preparation and hype paid off to result in euphoria and national pride.
But a lot has happened since, then, with the global financial crisis, and then the recent riots in Xinjiang that have turned people's attention away from the warm feelings of holding a successful Games.
To mark the anniversary the government has declared today National Fitness Day, but there's no brief on what we should be doing to celebrate other than some kind of exercise...
It's kind of lame given that many of the well-known venues aren't being fully used, especially by the public.
For example, the Bird's Nest is pretty much empty except for streams of tourists who come to ooh and ahhh over the stadium. It's pretty hard to fill the giant space that seats 91,000. But at the same time it costs $9 million to maintain so someone has to pay for the bills.
The only events that have been held there is a Jackie Chan concert and the Super Italian Cup being held today for football fans.
And next door, the Water Cube was only opened in the last month, and even then you have to prove to them you're a serious lane swimmer. Apparently you can't even swim in the pool where Michael Phelps won eight gold, but in the practice pools -- the main one is being used for some Las Vegas-like water show...
The Wukesong basketball stadium has also been under utilized, only holding a pre-season NBA game and an Avril Lavigne concert a few months ago. And the Laoshan Velodrome that prompted one coach to call it the "cathedral of cycling"? It's now being used by fencers to train, not cyclists. And there is talk it may be turned into a television studio!
While most of the updated university gymnasiums are being used, it's these new venues that need to be opened up to the public and used. After all, isn't that supposed to be the legacy of the Games? To encourage people to take up sport?
Why spend so much money and then leave the venues to practically rot?
Or was this whole thing all for show and not really for the people afterwards?